Posts Tagged ‘Hunting’

The Mighty Machete!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you may know that I have a good amount of experience with machetes. I have done many things with them, clearing fields of 10ft tall elephant grass, felling small trees, even carving field hockey balls. (Yeah. Betcha didn’t know you could carve a hockey ball using a machete did you!)

Indeed, there was a time when I used them routinely, I dare say even more often than I did my laundry!  The result, is that I tend to reach for a machete where most folks would reach for an axe. As a matter of fact, I consider machetes a blade that is highly underrated in North America. This may or may not actually be true, however when people start looking for a medium to heavy-duty chopper, the first thing people seem to reach for is a camp hatchet or axe.

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet.

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet.

Now to be fair, there are many things an axe is just better for. For instance, you don’t hear much about machete murderers in the good old U.S. of A. Axe murderers, on the other hand… Common knowledge. And look at how under represented machetes are in the media. You see hunting and survival knives portrayed prominently in movies all the time, like the Rambo movies, The Hunted, etc. Even in games, machetes get a bad rap. You see throwing knives, in all kinds of First person shooters, ballistic knives in Call of Duty, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on forever!

Even on Youtube, machetes get little love. There was recently a game of “Name your two favorite knives” tag on Youtube, and not a single person (whose videos I have seen so far) has even mentioned a machete. It is a sad state of affairs people. Especially when you look at what you can do with a good machete. Chopping, carving, wood processing, digging, brush clearing, dismemberment… etc. (And just so we are all clear, I mean dismembering large game animals, not people. Not that it hasn’t been done before, but it’s just not my style. I’m just saying.)

Anyway, a machete can do it all! And what is most amazing about it is that you can get a good machete for a mere fraction of the cost of many of the fancy schmancy designer knives that people all seem to love. But you can thrash a machete and not have to worry about, ride it hard, put it away wet (thought if you do that, you deserve to be flogged, hung from you hair from the tree of woe, for wild emu to slowly pick at you… No seriously.)

The fact of the matter is, machetes get no love. At least not in North America. In Africa, South America, and many developing nations, it is the hero of large utility blades, and today, I’d like to speak out on behalf of all the poor neglected machetes of ‘Merica! I’d like to show you that machetes are not only good, but that they can be cool too!
First, allow me to introduce you to the working mans machete, two of my favorites from the Ontario Knife Co:

Ontario 12in Camper Machete

Ontario 12in Camper Machete


 The Ontario 12″ camper machete. This one has a saw blade spine and a “D” handle to offer added protection to the user, though I must say that as a seasoned machete user, I can’t recommend either, as the saw back is incredibly inefficient at sawing anything. It is best used for notching, but that is about it. And the D handle simply makes it harder to use that saw back anyway, so this is what I would consider a bad combination. Moving on to one of my more favored workhorse machetes:

Ontario 18in Military Machete

Ontario 18in Military Machete

The Ontario 18in Military Machete is my go to machete for camping trips and such, it is versatile, tough, and best of all, Cheap! I have both the 12in and the 18in version of this machete, and I really don’t know why every outdoorsman doesn’t have the 12in version in their pack. They are awesome! Next up, a light duty machete: The Gerber Gator Machete.

Gerber Gator Machete

Gerber Gator Machete

Now this is a nice, easy to use machete, ideal for someone who wants to pack light. It is not as heavy-duty as the Ontario or Cold Steel Offerings, but is light weight, low fatigue, and has one of the best grip ergonomics I have run into on a machete for a long time. It also has a saw spine, however its performance is surprisingly disappointing, especially given that they know how to make a good utility saw. Phail on you Gerber! PHAIL!! >:{

And now, on to the machetes that I classify simply as “Cool beyond Words”. Ok, so they aren’t really cool beyond words. But they are pretty darn cool. I refer, in this case, to Cold steels line of machetes, starting with their quite impressive Kukri Machetes:

Cold Steel Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete

Both the Regular and Magnum Kukri machetes from Cold steel are simply quite good. Strong, tough, can be made shaving sharp, and quite versatile, I have both versions, and can say that they are great, especially for the price, being excellent low cost choppers and all around bush whacking blades.

Last but not least, allow me to introduce you to my favorite machete design of all time, the Cold Steel Kopis Machete.

Cold Steel Kopis Machete

Cold Steel Kopis Machete

Now this machete is just beautiful. Based on the ancient Greek Kopis sword, the Cold Steel Kopis Machete is a beautiful piece of work, a combination of style, function, strength and beauty that is really hard to come by these days. And, of course, as if simply to spite me, it is no longer being made. Curses. CURSES!!! Curse the machete gods for depriving me of this thing of beauty! Oh well. C’est la Vie. It is my own fault for not getting one while I could.

Anyway, there are a gazillion other machete designs i could talk about today, but these are some of my favorites. And hopefully I have demonstrated that Machetes are not just ugly choppers, and that you can have it all; strength, style, beauty and utility… with the Mighty MACHETE!! 😀

P.S.

By the way… Anyone got a Cold Steel Kopis machete they want to… umm… donate to… “charity”? I can take care of that for you… Yes, yes, it will be for a good cause. You know, like the Happy Balrog Knife Charity… No, no, it’s a real charity… It goes to Balrogs in desperate need of hard to find knives… No, really… 😀

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet – [True Swords]
Ontario 12″ Camper Machete – [True Swords]
Ontario 18″ Military Machete – [True Swords]
Gerber Gator Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Kukri Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Kopis Machete – (no longer made)

Of White Steel and Japanese Bowies…

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Today I’m going to talk about a knife that is both simple, beautiful and yet highly functional… In a traditionally Japanese kind of way. When we talk about bowie knives, a Japanese knife might be the very last thing that might spring to mind, but believe me, as knives go, I would swap a bowie for this beaut any day. The “beaut” to which I refer is the Akatsuki Bowie, made by Kanetsune of Seki, Japan. Here… Have a gander:

Akatsuki Bowie

Akatsuki Bowie

This ostensibly simple looking knife is unique in several different ways. The makers, Kanetsune, are old Japanese knife makers who make traditionally designed knives that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as fully functional. The Akatsuki is just one of many unique and beautiful knife designs they make. I plan to talk about some of their other knives in the future.

Now if anyone is familiar with the old Jim Bowie knife design, you may well be thinking that this design is not actually very Bowie like. At least not in any traditional sense. And you would be right. It is more of a hunting knife design than a bowie, but me personally, I still love it to death. Let’s take a look…

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

As you can see, Kinetsune uses a very traditional wooden scabbard design, with a cool set of buckles attached that support a few different carry positions. A wooden sheath certainly cannot compete with Kydex or similar synthetic sheaths in the durability department, but they certainly have a whole lot more character!

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

The knife itself is an interesting combination of design features, starting with the oak handle, double pinned to what I’d presume to be a half tang blade. Transitioning from grip to blade, we have a combination collar and guard, in black, pressure fit onto the grip, and providing support at the blade grip transition, much reminiscent of the metal collar used by many traditional Frost Mora knives with wooden grips.

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Except better, since this collar is much thicker, stronger and has a built in guard. I really like this design.

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Last, but certainly not least, we get to the beautiful blade. The Akatsuki sports a traditional hunting knife profile, with a mild belly and severely de-emphasized clip point. This results in a very smooth taper to the point. I really like the blade profile it ends up with.

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

But here we have a little bit of a departure from the norm. Unlike most other knife makers, Kanetsune leaves the flat of the blade unfinished. In fact it looks as though they actually pit it intentionally, in order to accentuate the effect.

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Now personally, I have reservations about this particular design feature. Kinetsune uses white steel in their knives, a special kind of high carbon steel, and it’s been my experience that most high carbon steels tend to rust a lot faster than others if not taken care of. I think those pits may be a little harder to clean than a polished blade, and this may cause it  to retain moisture and allow pitting and rust to migrate to the polished area. However with diligent cleaning and oiling this should not be an issue, and I can’t really argue with the beautiful aesthetic it adds to the blade. For all of it’s simplicity, the knife is a work of art.

All in all, a beautiful knife, even if it’s not a true bowie knife, it certainly has all the qualities of a great all around hunting and bushcraft knife, with some character to boot. It gets a fiery thumbs up from yours truly!

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [Kanetsune.com]

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [BladeHQ]

Vampiric Vampire Hunters…

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Anyone who watches their fare share of Japanese animated vampire flicks will have noticed an interesting trend. The protagonists of said flicks usually tend to be vampires themselves. Usually very special vampires, like Dhampirs, (or day walkers), etc.

And they are usually some kind of either half-breed or ridiculously powerful full breed (usually a direct descendant of Count Dracula hisself) who have, for one reason or another, decided to turn upon their own kind. Much like the concept of demonic demon slayers I’ve talked about before, I find the idea of evil being the only way to battle evil (using fire to fight fire as it were) a common and rather interesting theme in Japanese animated culture.

But my goal is not to lecture you about Japanese culture. It is to talk about the weapon of one of the more recent additions to the list of animated vampiric vampire hunters, namely that of Saya from the anime Blood+.

Blood Plus - Saya's Vampire Hunting Sword

Blood+ - Saya's Vampire Hunting Sword

Now this sword had a very unique design. The blade is actually offset downwards from the handle just after the hilt, and there is an edge on the rear of the bade that extends over the dropped edge and up to the hilt. It is an interesting design, but there is a reason for this particular design feature. Saya is actually a full blown Chiroptera however her blood has the unique quality of being poisonous to other Chiroptera in the series.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of her sword, she cuts her thumb on the rear edge of the blade, and allows her blood to flow into the fuller running the length of the blade prior to a cut. This was to ensure that any cut on an opposing Chiroptera would be lethal.

In practice, this particular design feature would be unnecessary and detrimental. Introducing sharp blade displacements of that nature usually only weaken a blade. it would have made more sense for her to use a straight, double edged blade, and cut her thumb on the rear edge, and then lay her thumb on the side. It would have achieved the same effect and allowed for a stronger sword. But then again that is just the stupid dork in me picking apart a fictional sword from a fictional anime series.

In spite of it’s structural shortcomings, it is a very good looking blade, and the design is very futuristic. It would also have the advantage of allowing cuts slightly closer to the hilt of the blade than would have normally been easy to perform with a straight sword. All in all, a very cool and purposeful looking sword. Worthy of a vampire who… slays vampires… Ahem…

Sayas Sword – [True Swords]

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